From the July 2011 magazine.

On a Rocket Ship to Hell

She came to understand that alcoholism was at the root of the wreckage in her life and came to AA to rebuild

My entire life from childhood through adulthood has been dictated by fear. Things weren't easy in my home in childhood. There was abuse and a lot of alcohol. I was afraid of everything and everyone. I didn't trust a soul. My favorite Aunt died from cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 40. When she died, she was yellow, and looked 7 months pregnant but her legs and the rest of her body were skinny like match sticks.

My parents divorced when I was five years old. Mostly, I lived with my mom and her various husbands. My first big recollection of drinking alcohol was when I was 12 years old. My mom took me to a house party and I was left with the older teens. I remember them giving me drinks they called garbage cans. This was a drink that had every hard liquor available in it. Wanting desperately to fit in, I drank them. The only memory I have after that was waking up in the back seat of my mom's car while she was driving home. I got very sick and slept the entire next day. I swore that would never happen again, that stuff was poison.

-- Robin W.

Schaumburg, Illinois

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